Restaurants and bars across Michigan had two options after a pair of late-March mandates from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: Close their doors until April 13, 2020 or switch to carryout and delivery only as one way to flatten the coronavirus curve.
Como’s Restaurant in Ferndale opted for the latter. After laying off its employees, the restaurant, which is part of Peas & Carrots Hospitality Group — owners of Beau’s Grillery in Bloomfield Hills, MEX in Bloomfield Hills, Social Kitchen & Bar in Birmingham and Grand Rapids, local locations of Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken and Bernie’s in Chicago — decided to do something special for its staff.
Each day, the chefs prepare dinner for the families of every employee who was recently laid off due to this statewide mandate.
“We realize that mothers and fathers and kids are at home right now, so we asked that they call us at noon and tell us how many family members to prepare for,” says Mark Smith, a representative for Como’s. “They come at 4 o’clock and pick it up. We’ll have it all boxed up and ready for them.”
The dinners are a rotation of Como’s menu items, Smith notes, adding that the chefs are doing a phenomenal job during this difficult time by working hard to not only feed the staff but also those local families who are still ordering food.
The move to provide daily dinner as a way to support employees and their families was a no-brainer for the owners of Como’s and the entire Peas & Carrots Hospitality Group, Zack Sklar, Jim Bellison and Josh Humphrey.
“These three fine gentlemen are insistent that the employees get taken care of in this time,” Smith says. “We realize that without them, we don’t have anyone here, and we need them all to be here whether this is a two-week crisis or a two-month crisis – we need them to come back.”
Employee meals are norm for Como’s, he adds. In fact, during normal business days, the staff is given breakfast, lunch and dinner during their shifts.
“We are very conscientious,” Smith notes. “We just understand that the heart and soul of our operation is our employees. Without them, we don’t operate. We try to stay true to doing what’s right for our employees.”
And they’ll continue to do just that during the COVID-19 crisis — and even after businesses resume normal operations. Because at the end of the day, “We are a family here. These people are a part of us,” he says. “Without them, we are nothing.”
Como’s in currently serving a limited menu of pizza and salad for patrons. To place a curbside takeout, call 248-677-4439. Order through food delivery services like Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Seamless.